Healthy eating is becoming more and more important these days. A healthy lifestyle is desirable for maintaining weight and having less visits to the doctor. Eating more healthful foods is ideal, but could the way we cook food also have an affect on our diet? Here we talk about just two of the methods for everyday cooking that can affect our health.
What is a ‘Griddle Pan?’
A griddle pan functions similarly to a regular frying pan, in that it sits on a stovetop to cook food. A griddle pan has raised ridges that create sear marks on food like an outdoor grill would. You can cook many of the same things as you would on a frying pan such as: steak, chicken, vegetables and seafood. Griddle pans usually are made of cast iron, but there are also aluminum griddle pans that are non-stick. If proceeding with a cast-iron griddle, you will need to ‘season’ the pan first before using it to cook food to ensure that it will not stick. You will need to coat the inside as well as the outside of the clean griddle with a small amount of vegetable oil, and then bake it upside down in a 325 degree Fahrenheit oven for One hour. After it is cooled, the griddle will be ready to use.
What is a ‘Frying Pan?’
Frying pans have a flat surface and can be found as a non-stick pan or as a stainless steel pan, but there are also cast iron pans. Stainless steel distributes heat evenly which results in even cooking. These can be used for a number of applications including: browning meat, boiling water, and for making sauces or gravy. Many are oven safe, so for special dishes that require searing on the stovetop and then final cooking in the oven, these are ideal.
Non-stick pans have the advantage in using less oil in cooking because they have a Teflon coating. This makes it easier to cook eggs, and they are also resistant to acids in foods such as tomatoes or wine. Non-stick pans are also easier to clean because of their coating. A word of caution though; because of this Teflon-coating there could be health risks if the coating, gets scratched or chipped. Never use metal utensils on a non-stick pan because these will scratch the surface and damage the coating exposing the chemicals to your food.
The Benefits of a Griddle Pan:
1. Less oil is needed for cooking. Cast iron material is naturally non-stick, therefore less oil can be used while cooking. This means that there will be less fat intake and lower calories. This is especially true in that, grilled food has less calories than fried food. This helps to keep weight down and also aids in lower cholesterol levels. If heart problems run in your family, you may want to consider this.
2. The ridges that are built into the pan aid in cooking meat in with their own fat. These ridges help meat to lose their fat as they are cooking. The excess fat drips into the pan and away from the food. Not all the fat will be ejected from the meat, but a good portion of it will, which will make healthier eating for you.
3. Quicker cooking time with a griddle pan means that you will lose less nutrients in your food. You will also lose less moisture ensuring juicier foods. This way, you do not compromise on flavor or nutritional value.
4. A griddle pan can withstand higher temperatures without the risk of emitting fumes. Frying pans made from Teflon cannot withstand too much heat without producing toxic fumes.
5. A cast iron griddle pan will add iron to your food. Many people suffer from iron deficiency. Cooking food in a cast iron pan can increase your intake of iron up to 20 times.
The Benefits of a Frying Pan:
1. A cast iron frying pan is chemical-free. You can decrease your risk of developing cancer by using a cast iron frying pan rather than a non-stick one.
3. Non-stick pans are easier to cook foods that stick, such as eggs and are also easier to clean. They do not need to be ‘seasoned’ before use.
4. Non-stick pans use less oil to cook with. This is a healthier option comparatively to a stainless steel pan.
5. Non-stick pans will not react with acidic foods.
6. Stainless steel pans can be used for browning meats, making sauces or gravy or boiling water.
Using a griddle pan is considered healthier than a frying pan but you should still be careful not to overcook your food. Burnt food can also result in carcinogens which could also cause cancer. Griddle pans also ensure juicer, tasty food without loss of nutritional value. Cast iron griddles add iron to your food. They also have a natural non-stick coating that ensures the use of less oil. Because of this natural non-stick surface, you are not posed to the same health risks as a Teflon-coated frying pan.